Posted on 26 September 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Phi Brain



So, Phi Brain. A show that baffled me for the past year more than any other series, and it did so in many ways. It was the source of many frustrations, but also many surprises. When the first season started it seemed like just an ordinary shounen series with very good characters. Then a second season got announced and things started. The thing is that the first season was very conclusive and didn’t really leave many plot threats behind. On top of that, it was all about Kaito and his history, and it really had this storyline that used its main cast at its best. So how on earth were they going to top that?

Well indeed, the second season didn’t turn out to be as good as the first, but it did so for complete different reasons than what I imagined. The creators actually came up with a new set of very good villains here. The charm of the first season, it surprisingly good characterization: it stayed here. There was cheese, Oh GOD, there was cheese, but it used this cheese really well to create memorable villains and actually ended up very heart-warming with a very good chemistry between all of the different members of the cast. The themes were great and it ended with a satisfying climax that really exceeded my expectations. So what went wrong?

Well, the balance is all over the place. The thing is that the stories of the first and second season are about equal in size, but the way in which they spend their time is very different. The first season had random stories: a first half of completely unrelated stories to flesh out the cast. In the second season however, every episode is important to the plot in a direct way. The problem however is that this show doesn’t have the material to fill 25 episodes. The result? Well, four episodes of solving the exact same puzzle over and over again. In a series that prides itself with its creative puzzles, that indeed is as fun as it sounds.

On top of that, the way in which this series manages its cast in this season is really bizarre and questionable. It all works out in the end, but oh boy, it has a lot of hurdles. Most importantly, the central focus of the plot is brainwashing. The entire cast of villains is brainwashed into acting weird and illogical. You do not want to know how long it takes for this to get properly fleshed out and some actual depth, because this series has spent nearly its entire airtime to get to that point. At the start the characters come off as shallow stupid and illogical bastards.

And then there is the great cast of characters of the first season, who honestly have trouble figuring out what to do in the sequel here. In one way it’s good, because the characters who did not have a focus in the first season can now really shine here (with the best example being Ana Gram), but it also is a bit of a shame to see once strong characters wander around slightly aimlessly and looking for things to do. Gammon especially suffered here, but also Nonoha is pretty bad. She keeps wanting to do something, and yet the creators hardly ever let her, despite hinting at how she still is important. Only near the end does that start to matter, and in the meantime she is just there for the token female to cook dinner.

Beyond that, the usual issues with Phi Brain still stand: when you think about it, it just makes no bloody sense. Especially the way in which this series seems to think that you can hack anything and do some mumbo jumbo in order to gather data are really bad if you start thinking about it even once. This show just has a story to tell and doesn’t care how illogical it gets, and yet it does this better than the likes of Horizon, because the story it does end up telling becomes pretty damn good when it wants to and is actually focused. I mean you can say a lot about Phi Brain, but it has a damn good cast of characters.

Storytelling: 7/10 – You call that balance?! Riddled with issues, way too long (we’re at 50 episodes now and a third season has been announced!), yet surprisingly focused and well built up.
Characters: 8.5/10 – The saving grace for this series. Very good and heart-warming all around. A bit too heavy on the cheese though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Definitely not Sunrise’s dream team here, though it has its moments at the beginning and end where it looks really pretty.
Setting: 8.5/10 – I have to give points for this series: it took a setting that seemed impossible to make believable: people fight using puzzles and brainwash each other in order to evolve human kind. And it pulled it off. Sure it took a lot of trouble, but it did.

Suggestions:
The Law of Ueki
Spiral
Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Posted on 26 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This episode thankfully wasn’t as bad as the previous episodes, and instead it was just a build-up. Unfortunately though, it showed a lot about the structure of this series and how much time it has actually wasted. But before I comment on that: we finally see Rook again… only to have him state the obvious and disappear again. Great use of him, guys!

Now, about this episode: it actually went back to the brainwashing again. Even though this disappeared for nearly half a season, here it is back like nothing happened. So yes, this series will turn Kaito’s friends against him. So really? What were those previous episodes about anyway? A random repetitive tournament that revealed the motivation of the Orpheus Order and a random beach episode. None of them really said anything about any of the characters, save for that very corny backstory and returning Nonoha back to the kitchen. They did absolutely nothing with the theme of brainwashing people

If these episodes were mentioned to flesh out the characters, then they pretty much failed because none of the characters emerged as better from those episodes and some of them even regressed and became more generic. Only this episode finally tried to delve deeper into the characters, even though it had plenty of annoying moments with everyone and his dog running for president. You could have made so much better use of these episodes. Take control of a few more side-characters; continue trying to recruit Gammon again by using his sister or something. Give Nonoha a puzzle she can actually solve. There was so much potential for these episodes. You obviously don’t care about having a puzzle in every episode so you could have taken one episode off to dedicate to the past of one of the characters.

I think it’s pretty clear by now: the first season was completely planned out when Sunrise suddenly came with the announcement for a second season. And my guess really is that the script was rushed in order to get the second season to continue immediately after the first season. Sunrise has very solid planners, so keeping the animation quality up was no problem. But thinking of a completely new series with complete new threats was way too much. This is especially the case considering that Sato Junichi switched from the director to the series composition: it’s very likely that he wrote this second season while directing the remaining episodes of the first season. That’s the only explanation I can think of for such a shoddy writing-job from his side, because there are just too many things wrong with that string of six episodes.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 18 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The beach episode actually wasn’t done yet? We’re spending one more episode in that resort? Why, Phi Brain? Did you run out of ideas for a setting or something?

It’s a good thing that this episode had a completely different premise than last week. Although I am not really sure what the point of it all was. Basically, after more than thirty episodes Nonoha finally realizes that she doesn’t fit in with the other main characters. Even though there were plenty of people who also went along with the trip and who were also bad at puzzles that she could have hung out with.

In any case, tired of doing nothing but cooking, Nonoha finally realizes that she also wants to do something and starts to solve puzzles along with the rest of the main cast. This really is the chance for the creators to find something specific or unique that she’s good at. Midway through the episode, we are re-introduced to Nonoha’s amazing memory, which is the perfect ingredient for giving an extra bit of dynamic to solving the puzzles. Unfortunately, Nonoha doesn’t realize that, completely fails at any kind of new puzzle she’s handed, and ends up back in the kitchen where she started. And feminism marches on!

I really don’t get what the creators are doing with Nonoha here. I mean, she has a ton of potential to contribute, but she completely fails to use them. Compare this to a series as the Law of Ueki: that series had a similar character to Nonoha: Mori. She usually stood on the sidelines as the main supporting character as well, but once in a while the creators did put her in the spotlight by finding a situation which would allow her to be able to show off her character. The result was beyond awesome, among the highlights of the series and part of the reason why that turned into my favorite comedy ever. Compare that to Phi Brain, where Nonoha gets a mid-life crisis episode that doesn’t really go anywhere.

And here is the bizarre thing: it’s not that hard to show her potential. She is the most athletic member of the cast. Give her an action puzzle or something. Get her to save Kaito by having someone attack him or something. Or what about her incredible memory? Put her in a maze or something!

Instead of that, the most creative that the creators have done with her is making her swim for six hours, which is completely unrelated to anything that this series is about. In the first season, she had a clear purpose: give support to Kaito as he was losing his mind. That worked. In the second season Kaito still needs support, but now Cubic and Ana have taken over that role, rendering Nonoha’s part in this series completely useless. Out of all the places the creators could have gone with Nonoha, they chose that damn kitchen!
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 11 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Who the heck was behind this episode, and what on earth was he smoking while writing it?

This episode already started off bad by both having Elena transfer into the Root Academy, and being a beach episode. I did not expect it to be such a bizarrely written one, though. I’m not sure whether this was in a good way, because what made it so bizarre was the incredibly stupid ideas behind it.

So, let me get this straight… the POG actually owned another tropical island. They used that for filming a giant monster movie named “puzzla”, and they still keep some of the props, including a giant monster model, hidden in a cave on that island. Where the hell did that come from? Why would that professor Pythagoras have ordered a thing like that?

The more I think about this episode, the more I realize that it really is quite bad. I mean, on one hand I guess the stupidity was funny and all, but on the other hand: it actually nullified some of the development that has been handed to the characters. There is that bizarre movie plan from the POG, but also:
– This episode had everyone going crazy from puzzle withdrawal, including Cubic and Ana, even though the two of them weren’t really passionate about puzzles. In the series we mostly see them paint and do science stuff respectively. This episode lumped their character way too much together.
– Elena also gets reduced to a generic side-character. Remember in the first season how there were hints of a romance between her and Gammon Well, this episode apparently didn’t.

Episodes like this are supposed to give the characters more colour, not make them grayer!

Some more comments:
– Apparently this show forgot that lock-picking is also a puzzle.
– Being in puzzle withdrawal is one thing. Gammon however has made plenty of puzzles for himself. Really, it’s not that hard to make them and instead the characters decide to go into that bizarre puzzla chase.
– Nonoha swimming for six hours and fishing up the key that Elena threw away is just plain bad.
– Death to slide-show montages!
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 4 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This was just bizarre. It seems that the editorial department realized that the writing staff intended to have the same puzzle in five episodes in a row, and they probably were just in time to salvage this and reduce the whole time of this arc by one episode by having the last match be a team-up. The thing is, that Sato Junichi most likely wrote this (he went from being the director in the first season to writing the series composition in the second season). He should know better, right?

And yeah. I didn’t think it was possible, but the creators actually provided an explanation for all of the other complaints I’ve been having over the past episode: nobody can think straight because they’re consumed by these orpheus rings. That’s why every villain is gay for Kaito, they make such ridiculous leaps in logic and have these extremely out of place mood changes that seem to come from out of nowhere.

And with this, the goal of this series has changed from “defeat the orpheus order” to “save the orpheus order”. Now, the question remains whether or not it’s interesting to watch an entire season dedicated to mentally deranged villains. It’s impossible to relate to them in any case, so instead this show is really going to have to develop these guys as victims instead.

The big potential pitfall is going to be making the ofpheus bracelets god-moded: justify every stupid leap in logic through them and relaying every dumb or over the top statement that these guys make just on “they weren’t thinking straight”. It takes away all character from the orpheus order, and it’s just lazy storytelling: normally writers have to take suspense of disbelief into account, and have characters acting reasonable. If you’re going to play with mental issues, do so with rules and structure, and don’t just blame everything on the “stupid virus”.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 28 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The sliding puzzles arc has some really big flaws, combined with a number of things that look suspiciously much like flaws, but can be written out of with the right writers.

Let me start with the big flaw of this arc; one that can’t be excused at this point: we’re basically watching five episodes about the same game here. No variations, it’s five episodes of sliding puzzles. That is way too much and way too long. I’m not opposed to the tournament set-up: it’s clear that the creators intended this to be an arc chock full of character development. For that it makes sense to devote an entire arc to just one game. But writers: you should have picked different puzzles to do this with. This is just lazy.

Another flaw here seems to be the cheese. The long format of this arc leads to a lot of time being devoted to characters angsting. I felt that the first season did this better (although I do admit that none of the characters in the second season comes even close to being as bad as that one villain of the first season who smashed the screen with his chair out of anger…). I’m missing a bit of balance here.

Now, the flaws that seem like the writers wrote themselves into a corner, but can still get out of with the right direction: the bizarre plot devices:
– First there is this mysterious “data” that cubic collected, which was way too vague. With an entire episode being dedicated to him collecting that “data”, it has to be something pretty awesome to make up for it.
– Then there was the previous episode. There, it was established that Freecell hates Kaito because he made him sad on the day that his mother died, causing his mother to die sad, but in this episode made it look more like he outright killed the woman. The funeral scene definitely hinted that there is something more going on, but really: there are still so many ways in which that back-story can end up as a complete disaster.
– And then there was this episode with Ana Gram. At one point he suddenly from out of nowhere reveals that he has an older sister… oh hey Mizerka, what are you doing here?

the way the creators can fix this by making Mizerka just some random girl who grew up with Freecell. My biggest issue with this is the way it was built up though: it does make sense for Ana’s sister to be sent to England as well, but don’t just introduce this from nowhere and show hints that Mizerka actually knows Ana. The creators could have avoided this by making Mizerka incredibly stoic to her sister: with that it would have made sense if this came out of nowhere, but this episode also shot down that potential thread by making Mizerka just flip out: she is not the type of person to hide her feelings.

When the second season first was announced, I really thought that the first season was made with the second season in mind. Right now though, it’s pretty obvious that the writers only learned that there would be a second season after the first one was completely written. Most of the times they were able to hid this very well, but Ana’s sister really is a big hint that the second season was written much later. It really feels like a nice idea one of the writers had along the way to add to his character, because if she really is so special to Ana, then he would have mentioned that somewhere in the first season.

Rant aside by the way: I did like this episode. I mean, I think that Ana is a very interesting character to watch, and he used his charm well here. He’s much more interesting than Cubic in any case, so it’s great for him to have another episode dedicated to him. The way she managed to cheer up Kaito was also quite heart-warming.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 22 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

And from out of nowhere this episode reveals the big motivation for Freecell. And to be honest… it’s kindof lame. I mean, it’s clear now that in this series there are quite a few characters gay for Kaito, but this guy’s reason for being so seems to be the flimsiest of the bunch.

So, to recap: in the Crossfield academy Kaito stood out as a genius, amongst all the other kids who were being pushed to be the next Phi Brain. We know that Kaito had a really difficult time there: he lost his parents and suddenly was placed to some random school he didn’t know; it was Rook who probably got him back up to his feet.

During that time, he talked to Freecell exactly once, and promised to meet and play again. He broke that promise because it happened on the same day that Rook disappeared, which is logical. On the same day, Freecel’s mother died and because he was sad that Kaito didn’t meet him, his was sad to see him sad and so she died unhappy. And Freecell has been unable to move on for 10 years, to the point of devoting his entire life to get back at him.

Of course, things aren’t as simple as “this episode made no sense”. After all, these characters were kids. This episode raised some amazing points that really should not be overlooked: forcing kids to perform beyond everything, and neglecting to let them evolve emotionally. From the looks of it, the POG did not care about this at all and was such an unhealthy environment for kids to grow up, with the result of mental delusions. This builds further upon what the first season started, and it also showed how hard Jin’s task was to get everything under control: he could give guidance to kids like Kaito, but there were much more kids that he ignored. Probably because he was doing this in secret so his actions had to be limited. This is something I actually really like: the kids who were forgotten and not as lucky as Kaito.

The thing that bugs me lies in the storytelling and how it took some very convenient loops. First of all: having the mother die at exactly the right moment is a tad too convenient here. But my biggest beef: Kaito only talked to Freecell once. That’s all. There is no reason for this to have such a significant impact on Freecell. There was no time to develop their relationship. Losing your mother is a terrible thing, but even taking that into account I find it hard to believe that Freecell would bear a lifelong grudge against someone who made him sad on the day that his mother died.

Rook was an awesome villain because he had time to spend with Kaito: he changed. Freecell’s entire character is dominated by this revenge. The upcoming episodes will need to fix that and give him an actual character.

And on a side-note, Phi Brain: you disappoint me. Are you really planning to have five subsequent episodes, focusing on the same puzzle? That’s just lazy.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 16 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Okay, so in the end the whole brainwashing subplot was all just a build-up. It wasn’t meant to give depth to the entire cast with its formula, but instead it was meant to show the Orpheus order as a formidable foe, explain what they were doing and why they were doing it. The fact that two side-characters got fleshed out was just a neat side-effect.

Instead this has very much the tendencies of a mystery story: inbetween the puzzles it really slowly continues to reveal a bit more about the Orpheus order. This episode was about Cubic again, who always struck me as the least interesting member of the cast. He’s genuine, but in comparison to the rest of the characters he lacks something. It probably has to do with how he is this series’ plot device: if something needs to be explained, he just goes “science!”, and things somehow become clear. This episode was about this too. The punchline of this episode was that he lost, yet he did manage to gather “data” which will somehow be of importance later. It’s all very vague, in a series that thrives on math.

In any case, this seems to be an arc in which the Orpheus order will show a bit more about their true characters; a way to flesh them out, in having a tournament-style match-up. I do wonder why Nonoha forced herself into the picture though, especially when Jikugawa would have been a much more sane choice to bring along. Right now she has no role in this series. Her role in the first searon was clear: support Kaito as he was having the living brains kicked out of him. Right now though.. Kaito doesn’t really need help… yet.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 7 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

I like how this series pretends that it’s got the plot of a series that’s fifteen years old, taking a formula only to nearly immediately deviate from it again. I really thought that for now we’d just get a string of episodes that would feature the POG taking control of some side-character. Instead, they are making visible progress in their goals. And this episode was all about Gammon.

And yeah, this was the best episode of the second season so far. Gammon just got even better. At first I didn’t really know where it was going to go to when Gammon was suddenly invited to join the Orpheus Order, especially since Gammon generally joins the side that is against the side that pisses him off the most. But then it turns out that this was actually a follow-up on last week after which the Orpheus Order tried to get ahold of his sister. She’s fine now as they lost interest in her, but this really made an impact on Gammon. This episode was meant for him to resolve this and emerge as a better character instead.

And in the end this episode made use of the first season, relating back to the time Kaito and Gammon first met by having Kaito play for a Giver for once. Gammon was hilarious to watch by being thrown off his element like that, and I also really liked how Kaito did things for a completely different reason (he was pissed off at Gammon himself). It was very refreshing to have these two actually play each other’s roles for a change. It was an awesome way to flesh them out.

Having said that though, the characters in this series are idiots. In a way, the Orpheus Order might have gotten Gammon to join them. Hell, if they paid him for it he probably would have done so. But what on earth made that Doubt-guy think that he’d still join them.. after they openly threatened the life of his sister? Gammon on the other hand: I know that you gained control over your own anger again at the end of this episode. But still: you know the location of people who openly endanger innocent people… and you don’t use it?! Why?
Rating: **+ (Excellent+)

Posted on 30 April 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

You know, the actual goal of the orpheus order isnt’ bad at all. If they can figure out the kinks in the Orpheus bracelet and remove the parts that destroy the wearer’s brains, it could mean a very good way for humanity to evolve, and it’s certainly better than “let’s have humanity evolve by killing everyone.” It’s just that their methods are questionable, having them resort to use involuntary human guinea pigs who can easily die when things go wrong.

Also, this episode broke up the formula that the first episodes tried to set already: Gammon prevented his sister from getting brainwashed. Still, you could say that this all was part of the plans in order to challenge Kaito to a puzzle. This episode pretty much failed for the Orpheus order, because the reason why Kaito nearly became “Phi Brain” was by putting him under constant stress. That’s very hard to do with five of them together like that, supporting each other. Also, this episode revealed all of their names, and they are indeed as weird as the rest of the cast. The main villain of this series is a random card game.

In any case, the bad thing of breaking up this formula is that we didn’t really get to see much more about Gammon’s sister. The most logical solution for this will be that the Orpheus order will find some other way to use her. Can they keep these methods fresh enough for the entire side-cast?
Rating: * (Good)

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Masky
...Espicially since characters supposedly from there rarely have names that sound Finnish.
Masky
So anyhoo, so why is Finland one of countries that tends to get name dropped a lot in anime/manga/japanese video games? As Finnish person that weirds me out
K-Off
@Friend Damn, kind of surprised to see how abstract some of those concept art are for Mulan. But generalizations are just easier to make if all they care about is validation.
Masky
Generalized statements are in general rather annoying, but everyone loves to make them anyway for some reason :D
Friend
I'm nearing completion with our banner, in terms of work-hours Id say 3 hours? But in real life that equates to about 4 days because of stuff.
Friend
Something that annoys me: when a fellow artist makes a generalized statement about the industry by saying something silly like "japanese animated films have more creative input involved." Uggh Google "Alex Nino Mulan Concept" and tell me if you still think that. Sorry about that X/
SuperMario
And it might sound weird to you guys, especially majority of you are in one of the hottest days of summer, but I'm gonna head off to snow mountain for skiing this coming weekend. So expect the weekly posts will be a bit later than usual.
SuperMario
I don't know if that guy @Bond is still lurking around here, but I'm still interested In doing that thing with him
SuperMario
@Aidan: imho, those numbers don't really mean if we have nothing to compare them to. I'll say the ratio between original/ all anime for particular seasons would tell us a lot better
AidanAK47
But it does counter the point of "We don't get enough original anime anymore" which in itself was a pretty silly statement.
AidanAK47
Of course just because they are original doesn't automatically qualify them as good.
AidanAK47
@Anon44887, that logic would apply if it was an exception. 9 original shows last season, 14 original shows this season. 20 in the next. Are they three seasons all an exception?
Anonymous44887
@AidanAK47: An exception that proves the rule
Vonter
Just to ask does any of the shows being reviewed have a great soundtrack. Just asking for asking.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I recall he posted under the name Bold/bond, the same poster who made the chart.
AidanAK47
Who was it again bemoaning that we don't get enough original(Not adaption) anime anymore? Cause there are 20 original shows next season. Great for anime but hard for me cause what am I gonna write in the preview?
AidanAK47
I am a bit too stubborn to burnout.
@afgm, I didn't change a thing.
Anonymous38539
I hope AidanAK47 would not suffer an Anime Burnout. I love this site and it pains to think that one day, no one will be writing the seasonal previews and yearly summary.
SuperMario
@Aidan: you have 91 days's episode as 9 instead of 7
AidanAK47
Bloody hell, even the spambots are referencing Pokemon Go now.
K-Off
For future reference, let's direct admin dialogue to email, apart from direct feedback.
@Mario We're working on allowing users to set up accounts.
SuperMario
And the constant anonymous names just keep bugging me. Can we make it back to the old shoutbox, where you have to put down your name in order to write message?
SuperMario
I think it's one thing leads to another. he's getting too burnout that he doesn't know what to write anymore.
AidanAK47
@Anon36049, pretty much what he said. Though it seems to be a combination of anime burnout and writers block.
Anonymous36271
He suffered from anime burnout and is getting on with real life.
Anonymous36049
Hi guys I havent been around for a long time. Does anyone know what happened to psgels? I see that the new posts are not his.
AidanAK47
Disgaea 2 coming to steam. Sweet.
Gotta finish Disgaea 1 and hope they don't screw up the port on release day again.
AidanAK47
Illuminati are everywhere, regardless of wherther it's anime or not. Sword Art Online was the work of the illuminati. All in the name of the gaint magic eyeball triange god do they rule the landscape of entertainment medium.
Also Magic Eyeball-kun also argees that Rem is best girl. And none shall dare denounce that claim.
SuperMario
@Anony35181: never thought they're that much interested in anime thou
Anonymous35181
@supermario, illuminati confirmed
SuperMario
Is it just me or couple of messages from the shoutbox just gone missing?
Topgavin
Haven't been watching it myself, but apparently in Taboo Tattoo, that large-chested high school girl died while running *onto a live battlefield* to check on her boyfriend with a shirt that said "flag". 10/10
K-Off
@afgm Sent you a message.
@Friend Looks good, I'd be interested in seeing multiple witches as well.
Anonymous32745
Chemotherapy is a cause of cancer rather than a cure.
Anonymous32745
If you know someone dying of cancer, immediately inform them that allopathic medicine will kill them and turn them to natural remedies which often work.
Anonymous32745
"Medicine and science are powerfully institutionalized, but no institution or profession has existed for the purpose of encouraging people to act reasonably." - Ray Peat
afgm
.
afgm
@Friend: yeah it's a problem
@Koff: I emailed you a while back. did you get it?
Fri3nd
Huh, I can't use my username.
@Bam You're right, I'll work on it.
Bam
@K-off: It's moments like these that really remind you of mortality. People pull thru tho. medical science has come far in that field; but definitely not far enough.
Bam
@Friend: It's looks pretty good. I like Mario's suggestion of a series of witches, but a solitary one is more in-tune with the current banner. I would say however that there is too much dark in the negative space to the right. Could be just me tho.
Bam
@Kaiser: a series of consecutive 'yes'. I was really into Laloux, but FP is the one I liked the most. I've been watching Mr. Robot since season 1, and it's well worth your time. Not really all that cyberpunkish tho; mostly just cyber. And anybody who hasn't read Gibson's masterpiece is a fool of a Took.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: Have you been looking into that Mr Robot series? I heard its meant to be some kind of cyber thriller, it could be our thing. Also have you read Neuromancer?
Kaiser Eoghan
And I suppose that brings me to that stranger things show then, I love horror so I guess that caught my eye, but apparently its a family/kids thing =< don't know whether to bother.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still say it takes me that extra bit of convincing to watch a childrens animated film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Friend: The banner is in good hands I see.
AidanAK47
Well Coraline wasn't written by Laika. It was written by Neil Gaiman. Laika just adapted it. Still I would like to check out Kubo to see what all the hype is about.
SuperMario
@anony29442: I will watch Kubo this coming week so I will comment on the movie then. But I'm not that surprise if Kubo has a weak writing. Laika never really great at story development: I mean Coraline is exellent, ParaNorman is just okay and Boxstrolls writing is just so underdeveloped and full of plotholes
SuperMario
@friend: wow. It looks awesome. But why only one witch? ^^
Friend
Hey everyone! Just an update on our new banner, here's my WIP up to now: [link src="https://i.imgur.com/0QSv6IK.png
I'm"] trying a witch as a tribute to one of psgel's favorite anime maho shojotai. Feedback is welcome, I have a lot left to do. A 5:1 aspect ratio is the weirdest dimension I've ever painted in
Anonymous29442
I just saw Kubo and the 2 strings and im really shocked at all the praise its receiving. People calling it an instant masterpiece on looks alone but not enough are talking about how underdeveloped the characters and story were. It felt as if they made the whole thing up as they went along to the point where I couldnt suspend my disbelief any longer and got irritated.
Anonymous29415
qualidea code's characters havent become better in terms of how they are written; only that they have been fleshed out in the most generic and trivial of ways as to sympathize with them; and sure, they have become some what likeable in the same way you'd like a person who you heard nothing but kind things about but that does not save the characters from being boring. QC is still a bad show
AidanAK47
@Anon27511, even if the animation was kept consistent the story still can't really escape the done to death aspect of it's story. I agree that the writing has gotten better but despite that the show just feels...meh.
Anonymous27511
Fucking Qualidea Code, as the story and characters become more interesting, the animation and drawing proportionately decreases. Sad they simply do not have the budget to pull off what seems like a potentially very good story
K-Off
@Mike I'm sure you already heard but for some reason I didn't keep up to date. I thought it was strange that releases stopped in March after chapter 68,.
K-Off
Just learned that the writer of my favorite webtoon is battling terminal cancer, but despite it she hopes to finish it someday. God damn I would've never expected this.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Once spilled hot microwaved food over my hand by mistake, hurt for a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
*remaining
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: The story and ideas however were better in gandahar I felt. Time masters while good was a bit stop and start in its pace and animation.
I’m definitely interested in Laloux’s other, short animations and Mobius’ comic book work.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: I watched Rene Laloux's remain animated films, Gandahar and time masters, I enjoyed both but not as much as Fantastic planet. I remember we talked about fantastic planet two years ago. Did you see the other two I mentioned. I liked the big moments and the ending to time masters, especially those angel things.
Anonymous27024
Ok. I beat Federation Force. I think the main positive is that the levels were playable despite the lack of voice chat. The bosses took a lot of damage and the beginning and end are relevant to the Prime continuity.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I did it once just like you did, and once when I put a metal bowl into a microwave. So yeah, boys will always be boys.
Bam
I tried my best not to half-ass either of them tho. Any oddity you guys see just write it off as mental exhaustion.
Bam
Okay, I'm officially beat. These two reviews should be considered companion pieces, as some material from one flew into the other. Thank god that episode 08 was not a heavy one, or I'd be completely depleted.
K-Off
Shit, I'm a damn idiot at baking, slightly burnt my hand a minute ago grabbing a hot tray with a wet towl. Why do I even try.
K-Off
@afgm Alright, send me a message at fightthepowwa@gmail.com and we'll work it out.
Bam
*cinematography
Bam
@K-off: I second that, as although the Poirot series has very well-done choreography, casting and music, there is still a little more of that unquantifiable magic sprinkled on the Granada series. But keep watching and I'll guarantee that Suchet will become the quintessential Poirot in your mind as well.
K-Off
I said that while I liked the performance and the direction, I didn't think that it did for Poirot what Granada did for Holmes.
K-Off
@Bam Yeah it is, and generally when I camp I like to stay for 1-2 weeks, places like Niagara or Yellowstone I can pretty much see everything I want to see in a few days so I don't find much value going to those places. The Adirons on the other hand is diverse as hell.
Bam
@K-off: I'm not sure if you mentioned it while I was gone: but did you get to watch any of the Poirot series with David Suchet? And if so, what are your thoughts?
Bam
I generally go to either the Muir Woods north of SF, or the forests around Big Sur. It doesn't take much to please me really.
Bam
@K-ff: is that by Lake Champlain? Cuz I've been there once and loved it.
Bam
@K-off: I thought of a combined post, but my OCD wouldn't allow a skip in the episodic order of the reviews.
K-Off
Usually when you go camping in Yellowstone or Yosemite the tourist industry kills those places, like I'd be on a rowboat and see cars, cabins, and people from a long ways offshore. The Adirondacks are nice because their building codes mandate construction to be hidden behind trees.
K-Off
@Bam My favorite camping spot is the Adirondacks in upstate NY, I went there probably 4-7 times and never get tired of the place. No, I don't have any posts for now, but for future reference consider combining episodic reviews when you get behind. I.E. Episode 6-8 Review
Bam
Also there's a reader in the comment section of Berserk 07 who wants to know if we have a notification system. I vaguely remember a widget that links the site to a FaceBook page. If anybody knows how that works, or if it's still functional, please shed some light on the matter for him/her. Thx.
Bam
@Aidan @K-off @Mario either one of y'all has any post near completion? I'm almost done with Berserk 08 and as previously mentioned, really prefer not to put two reviews up back to back. I think the length of them is already a hassle for some to get thru, let alone two right after eachother. I think it hurts the viewership, but if nothing's on hand then I'll guess I'll just finish up and post mine.
Bam
@Kaiser: I was actually camping near a mountain, but aren't all mountains somewhat holy? That could be my bias tho, since I was raised on the Alborz mountain range, and for me there is something therapeutic about the mountain air.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yes! Looks like the shoutbox is fixed and not deleting posts after 24 hours anymore!
Kaiser Eoghan
lol Or you could live in the shitty suburb where I do and spend your time just waiting for when your internet connection randomly cuts out twice a month or as it has the past few days two-three times a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
Basically bam went up the Holy mountain .
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: ....guy I know who loves war films and I've ended up inadvertedly/un-intentionally gotten him to buy some fucked up Polish horror film that just happens to be set in WW2. lol he's going to be pretty freaked out when he watches it.
Bam
Everything been cool here? Hehe ... looks like I conveniently missed all the hard parts.
Bam
@Mario: thx m8. I wish I could just make it down to Rio on a whim, but then again, I took a much-needed vacation, so I ain't complaining.
SuperMario
Welcome back Bam, I was already convinced that you went to Rio for screwing around. Lol
Bam
Also I apologize for the absence. I was gone somewhere without reliable internet access, and looking back I should've gave a notification.
Either way, I'm back now, and will be jumping on getting those Berserk reviews out as soon as possible.
Bam
Man looky here with the renovations; I like it.
SuperMario
@Vyse: wow. So how was the sites then back from 2005?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and what is that sh!te you're talking about?
VyseLegendaire
<— fixed
VyseLegendaire
<— me
VyseLegendaire
Ive been a reader since 2005
Kaiser Eoghan
Haha, this'll be fun lol
Kaiser Eoghan
.....that feeling when you keep going on about a show or film but fail to give all the details...and someone goes out and buys it not knowing the full extent of the mad shit their in for...s--t lol
Anonymous24840
any reader from 2005 here....
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: This guy seems interesting: https://letterboxd.com/director/tsai-ming-liang/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Hmm, not familiar with him.
I really really loved in the mood for love, alot, it emotionally effected me. I even watched it three times.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I couldn't seem to enjoy any of Zimou yangs films apart from Hero, which had some pretty creative fight scenes. I've seen the story of Ricky and some of John-woos films but they were more just silly entertaining exploitation films.
SuperMario
Don't know if you know the Vietnamese-French Tran Anh Hung. His works are stunning too. If you want to check out East-Asian cinema don't forget to check him out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Yeah, but Park Chan Wood changed the ending, so the author insisted that the Handmaiden is more "inspired" than "based". The third chapter is the weakest part for me
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Of interest, The handmaiden was based on some British book/tv show.
Kaiser Eoghan
I need to completely re-evaluate/get into more Chinese cinema.
Kaiser Eoghan
Doesn't look like I've seen anything by Hong-sang-so.
My favourite Korean actor is song-kang-ho.
Kaiser Eoghan
Theres an anime convention over here in Dublin in three months. Although I haven't been to one in years.
SuperMario
I'm heading to anime convention today. Normally I don't really care about those conventions but I figure I'd come this year to see the taste of it. The only hassle is it's 3-hour drive, which gonna be a pain when I drive back after a long day being there.
SuperMario
Bong Joon-ho, on the other hand,is incredible at writing. His scripts are often layered, sharp and best of all fuses many tones/ genres into one coherent whole. The best thing about this Korean New Wave directors is they all have very distinctive voices. But my favorite director isn't the ones that you list. That would be Hong Sang Soo. I just love his simplicity style so much.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Park Chan Wood is a master of visual. Whenever I come to his movies I expected to be blown-away by his visual. He can write compelling characters (he loves his characters) as well but his screenplays in general are weak. You can watch his lesser effort "I'm a Cyborg, but That's Okay" and see many things that made him good/bad. That's the movie I feel he made without the care of the critic
afgm
.
afgm
@koff: Yeah I can help. But midterms/finals are coming up so I can't dedicate to much time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I always felt Bong-jong and Chang-dong , kim-di-duk and Kim-jee-woon were better than Park-chan-wook. Oldboy did have that one hell of an ending, so did lady vengeance but I feel that those are the bits people tend to remember and the rest was good but not great.
Topgavin
For anyone that doesn't regularly browse /r/anime, Godzilla is apparently getting an anime adaption by Polygon Pictures with Urobuchi involved. Should be good.
K-Off
Well, I climbed to rank 52 in Overwatch with Tracer alone. Looking forward to season 2 already, but I do wish Blizzard had somehow implemented a single-player storyline since the lore in Blizzard titles is always so vast. Kind of surprised they didn't make one with Overwatch.
K-Off
@Kaiser Watch Train to Busan if you can. Me neither, I can't dig too deep into Korean films due to the language barrier. Sure would be convenient to have Vincent recommending films again.
K-Off
@afgm Hey, are you still interested in helping out with the site? At this point I'm looking over the site's code & doing some rewriting - if you think you can help, let me know.
K-Off
@Mario I hadn't watched Old Boy for 6 years when I got to I Saw the Devil and it was out of mind for me, so you may be right.
SuperMario
@K-Off: maybe it was just me but I was underwhelmed by I Saw the Devil. The point it trying to match was similar to OldBoy, and Oldboy's execution was way better (OldBoy's one of my favorite movie). Yes, the soundtracks of OldBoy, Lady Vengeance are exceptional. I still listen to The Last Waltz after all those years...
K-Off
The soundtrack in a lot of these Korean films are top notch as well, Lady Vengeance and I Saw the Devil in particular.
K-Off
@Mario Speaking of which, Korean psychological thrillers are hands down some of the best in the last 10-20 years. I Saw the Devil, Lady Vengeance, Old Boy, list goes on.
SuperMario
@Aidan: It just comes to me that we're already half way of this season... Time sure flies
SuperMario
@Kaiser: so please finish up Inside Mari. The last chapter had been out. I need someone to talk about that goddamn manga anw
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I always consider the Korean New Wave started back in 2000, and really peaked in 2003 (OldBoy, Memories of Murders, Spring Summer..., A Tale of 2 Sisters). Before 2000? The only director I can think of was Im Kwon-Taek
AidanAK47
About nearly finished Fata Morgana but I might have to finish doom first because that thing is eating a huge chunk of my SSD drive.
AidanAK47
Back up to date...at least for now. I have to go to a wedding so It's likely I will fall behind again. Got to admit that I haven't had much of an opinion on the latest episodes. Might be just mentally drained personally.
SuperMario
@K-off: I totally agree with you. 28 Days Later is a gem. Though I'm not really into zombie genre as a whole, I'm more into psychological stuffs more.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Reminding me I need to catch up on boku mari no naka.
Kaiser Eoghan
Although the trailer for train to busan does catch my interest.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've gotten more than enough out of Korean films, I can enjoy them but I probably don't sing the same high praises for them as most bar some exceptions.
Seeing Lee-chang-dongs stuff I'm actually kind of interested in finding some more low key korean films.
Kaiser Eoghan
Very likely a view shared by my indie loving friend and I, but Battery and Wyrmwood were jokey takes on the zombie genre I thought were enjoyable.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Likely my preference for British comedy that makes me laugh more at Shaun of the dead more. Although Hot fuzz is the better Simon Pegg film in my opinion.
In terms of Korean films, I've been wondering, what are the pre-90s ones like. Lee-chang-dong started the Korean new wave in 1997.
K-Off
I'm still waiting for a good horror-zombie film, nothing has met my expectations after 28 Days Later (and techinically REC), which admittedly is a high bar.
K-Off
@Mario I am watching Seoul Station next week, that was just me recapping TtB after I watched it a few days ago. It's definitely more of a thriller, it has good "wtf" moments but nothing I'd call horror.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I thought you were going to watch Seoul Station? So I gather that Train of Busan is more thriller than horror? Just thinking of Zombieland already puts a smile on my face. That one and Shaun of the Dead are so goddamn hilarious.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I will review them in the future. atm I'm in watching/ reading mode so I'll push back all the world movie/ full show reviews for a while
K-Off
@Mario My impression of Train to Busan was that although it wasn't anything ground breaking, it had a great cast of characters and an entertaining gimmick that managed to stay exhilarating. I haven't seen a zombie film this well structured since Zombieland, even though they're completely opposite in tone.
AidanAK47
They are all yours if you want to do them.
SuperMario
Reading Inside Mary makes me want to watch Flowers of Evil again. If I remember correctly psgels never actually had a full review on this one, and Ping Pong.
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Width wise it's exactly the same as the old chat box. Though it's possible the old one had smaller font.
VyseLegendaire
This chat box is too narrow I think, only see a couple messages.
AidanAK47
@Anon18138, Yeah but I don't see that writer making something that truly represents the games. There may be a possibility of it being a good movie but that movie won't be Pokemon.
Anonymous18138
@AidanAK47 It'll have the writer of Gravity Falls. Though I don't have a high standard in regards to the 3D mascot and live-action style of movies.
SuperMario
They originally planned to male a live-action remake of Seoul Station, as the producer saw a footage of the animation and really loved it; but Yeon Sang-Ho (the director) insisted that if he was about to make a live-action film, he's go for a sequel instead. Hence Train of Busan.
SuperMario
@K-off: I missed my chance to watch Train to Busan but I heard nothing but rave from it. People who watched it really loved it. Damn, you make me jealous man, since I want to watch Seoul Station and review it here. Come watch it and tell me what you think; my bet is you'll enjoy it.
K-Off
@Mario Have you watched Train to Busan? I'm planning to watch its animated prequel Seoul Station next week. Animation looks shabby as hell but I can always expect a good story from the koreans.
AidanAK47
So the live action Pokemon movie will feature detective pikachu. Clearly a necessary inclusion.
SuperMario
I'm reading Inside Mary now and it's quite a gem despite its ridiculous premise. There's a lot of raw emotions. I love raw emotions. As expected from the same guy who wrote Flowers of Evil.
AidanAK47
Yep, when she sends the images let me know. It may have been a while ago but I am a qualified graphic designer so even I can lend a hand to the banner design.
AidanAK47
Ugh...a new version of wordpress is ready to be updated to. I have a bad feeling updating to the latest version could potentially break things.
K-Off
Alright, I've got Friend onbaord with a commission for our new banner. She says she'll send us sketches so we can decide if it's something we want.
Total users: 31

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